'Stunning ... Scrublands is that rare combination, a page-turner that stays long in the memory' Sunday Times (Crime Book of the Month)
'A heatwave of a novel, scorching and powerful... Extraordinary' AJ Finn
The #1 Bestselling Australian crime novel, perfect for fans of Peter May and Jane Harper
In an isolated country town ravaged by drought, a charismatic young priest opens fire on his congregation, killing five men before being shot dead himself.
A year later, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals don't fit with the accepted version of events.
Just as Martin believes he is making headway, a shocking discovery rocks the town. The bodies of two backpackers - missing since the time of the massacre - are found in the scrublands. The media descends on Riversend and Martin is the one in the spotlight.
Wrestling with his own demons, Martin finds himself risking everything to uncover a truth that becomes more complex with every twist. But there are powerful forces determined to stop him, and he has no idea how far they will go to make sure the town's secrets stay buried.
Chris Hammer has been a journalist for over twenty-five years. He has been an international correspondent for SBS TV's flagship current affairs program Dateline, the chief political correspondent for The Bulletin and a senior political journalist for The Age. His non-fiction book, The River, published by Melbourne University Publishing in 2010 to critical acclaim, was the recipient of the ACT Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Walkley Book Award and the Manning Clark House National Cultural Award.
Stunning ... Scrublands is that rare combination, a page-turner that stays long in the memory — Joan Smith, Sunday Times (Crime Book of the Month)
An almost perfect crime novel ... Intelligent, thought-provoking, great narrative energy, a central character who's imperfect but self-aware, and of course that amazing setting ... I loved it' — Ann Cleeves, author of Raven Black and Wild Fire
A dark and brilliant thriller, one that lingers in the mind — Mail On Sunday
Extremely accomplished ... Deliciously noirish ... Set in the blistering heat of a remote Australian town ravaged by drought and threatened by bushfires, this is a complex, meaty, intelligent mystery ... Hammer's writing is so evocative the heat practically rises off the pages of Scrublands — Alison Flood, Guardian 'Best Recent Thrillers'
My pick for debut thriller of the month (and maybe of 2019) ... Beautifully written, this would make a terrific small-screen series — Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post
Well-rounded characters, masterful plotting and real breadth; this is an epic and immersive read — Laura Wilson, Guardian
A heatwave of a novel, scorching and powerful... Extraordinary — AJ Finn
Incendiary . . . A rattling good read, ambitious in scale and scope and delivering right up to the last, powerfully moving page — Declan Hughes, Irish Times
Scrublands is the epic novel about rural life in Australia that we need right now ... It sits right up there with the late Peter Temple's Broken Shore, Garry Disher's Bitterwash Road and Jane Harper's The Dry, even as it extends their focus and reach ... Remarkable — Sue Turnbull, Sydney Morning Herald
It's hard not to compare Chris Hammer's Scrublands to Jane Harper's acclaimed The Dry ... [It will] capture your imagination from the first page — Karen Hardy, The Age
Set in the parched Australian landscape, Scrublands is a brilliantly plotted thriller which reveals a town full of brooding secrets. I couldn't put this compelling debut down — Sarah Ward, author of The Shrouded Path
Scrublands kidnapped me for 48 hours. I was hopelessly lost in the scorching Australian landscape, disoriented but completely immersed in the town and people of Riversend, as the heat crackled off the pages. I was devastated when it was time to go back to the real world. This book is a force of nature. A must-read for all crime fiction fans — Sarah Bailey
Brilliant and unsettling, Scrublands stands at the junction of Snowtown and Wake in Fright, that place where Australia's mirage of bush tranquillity evaporates into our hidden fears — Paul Daley, writer and journalist
A superbly drawn, utterly compelling evocation of a small town riven by a shocking crime — Mark Brandi
Hammer's portrait of a dying, drought-struck town numbed by a priest's unimaginable act of violence will capture you from the first explosive page and refuse to let go until the last. His remarkable writing takes you inside lives twisted by secrets festering beneath the melting heat of the inland, the scrub beyond waiting to burst into flame. Scrublands is the read of the year. Unforgettable — Tony Wright
A compulsively page-turning thriller where the parched interior looms as large as the characters — Katharine Murphy, Guardian Australia